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By John Davis — primary school teacher and educational writer

Introducing lines of symmetry

You will need

Large paper cut-outs of 2-D shapes (squares, rectangles, equilateral triangles, circles and hexagons); drawing and writing materials; pictures of mosaics; squared paper; individual copies of the ‘Complete the castle’ sheet.

What to do

Ask Reception children to count how many ways they can fold large paper shapes exactly in half so they discover all the lines of reflective symmetry. They can mark correct fold lines with a dotted pencil line.

Show Year 1 children some examples of simple symmetrical mosaics. Explain that mosaics are used to decorate the insides of buildings and are made by tessellating small cubes of coloured stone. Display a piece of large-squared paper and show the children how to make a tessellating symmetrical pattern by mapping corresponding squares on either side of a vertical or horizontal line of symmetry. Now explain to the class that they are going to design a mosaic for Cinderella’s castle. Give each child a piece of squared paper and ask them to fold it in half. They should colour in some squares on the top half and then swap papers with a partner who has to complete the mosaic by colouring in the symmetrical pattern on the lower half. Children can use plastic mirrors to check their patterns are correct.

Give each Year 2 child a copy of the ‘Complete the castle’ sheet. First, they have to complete the castle by adding in the right-hand side of the picture. Then, they should try to draw the castle’s reflection in the moat. They can colour in the finished picture or add small squares of sticky paper. More able children can invent their own symmetrical building picture for their partner to complete.

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